There. I finally said it.
I have met and interacted with probably a thousand jewish people in my life. Really. Having been in the business world for many decades, one does. In the white-collar world in the US, you must interact with tribe members on a daily basis usually. Anyway, I have known them. They are just people like the rest of us. But of course they act and are treated differently than most other groups. No biggie. Except they have always...and I mean ALWAYS left a bad taste in my mouth. Like cauliflower to me. I just can't seem to get rid of that nasty flavor. I know that sounds prejudicial...and it is. But there are reasons....there are always reasons.
Maybe I look for these distasteful qualities in the jewish, once I know they are of the cult...maybe not. Maybe they are just there. More than just "standing around being jewish", they have always invited disgust from me. Even before I suspect them of kosher roots.
When my oldest Brother was seven and in the second grade, he had a teacher named Mrs. Reiner. She looms large in our family history...because of one incident. I will now supply another here.
The incident with my Brother happened before I had begun to form memories, but the details were related time and time again by my parents.
He was in her class, apparently just being a seven-year-old. I don't remember him ever being anything but the eager-to-please personality that he remains to this day...so I can't imagine his being much if any real trouble to his teachers at that young age. Anyway on this particular occasion, this Mrs. Reiner, saying later that she was talking to him and he wasn't paying attention to her, reached across an aisle of those screwed-to-the-floor seats, grabbed his arm and yanked him over the aisle. In so doing, she broke his arm.
You can imagine my parent's reaction to this. Even though the attack was officially treated as an accident, it was always related that when my Mother finally confronted this teacher in a meeting about the incident that she broke her rule of no vulgar language and told this woman that: "...if you ever touch another one of my children, I will personally come to this school and slap the shit out of you."
All I know is that I wouldn't want to get that far into my Mother's bad side.
And I probably had that in mind when the next "Mrs. Reiner" incident happened.
As luck would have it...and although there were several other second grade teachers in our school, I was assigned to "her" class. I remember just a few things about that year...as one does with memories so long ago. Just little patches. One of them was her bringing a menorah into class. It was her annual thing. She would let us play the dreidel game for hard candy during chanukah.
But that is not the memory that sticks out in my mind now. What I do remember is a friend I had in class. This boy was one of the unfortunates of our neighborhood. Dirt poor and none too bright. I liked him nonetheless. His father bought him a pen-knife for a birthday and it was his prize possession. It seemed he always had it out cutting apples or whittling. Even though it couldn't have been more than a few inches long in its entirety, he was the envy of all the guys for owning it. Until Mrs. Reiner saw it. She confiscated it and put it in her desk drawer. My friend was beside himself about losing his father's gift.
So I(yes, I will finally admit it) decided to get it back. During one recess, I sneaked back to class and got it for him. I told him to hide it in his shoe and not to bring it back to school. He did so.
Of course when it was discovered missing, Mrs. Reiner went ape-shit. The "thief" in her classroom was going to be punished, no matter what. She told us that day that every student in class had to remain after the final bell until the thief confessed.
I wasn't about to confess anything. After my friend had emptied his pockets and declared his innocence...my glances to him let him know that if he wanted to keep the offending weapon...to keep his mouth shut.
I remember that we had to read while we were waiting for the criminal to come forward...and do so quietly. Which was hard, because our parents were starting to get out of their cars and wander up to the school...wondering why the hell their kids weren't outside ready to be picked up.
The vice-principal came in...demanded to know why these children were still in class and dismissed us all. HOME FREE!
Some time soon after that day, Mrs. Reiner made me stay after class. I don't know if my mate had broken under her torture or how she found out, but...
I remember her getting right in my face and accusing me of taking the knife. I denied it and she instinctively slapped me. Her hand flew to my face as if it had a mind of its own. I don't know if she immediately remembered that I was the brother of the boy whose arm she had broken a few years earlier, my Mother's threat, or if she had been officially warned against touching children...but the look of horror that crossed her face impressed me. So too did her order for me never to tell of what she had just done. And I have kept silent about it...till...well, right now, come to think of it.
But it started me on a path. A path of being wary of the yiddish among us. Adhering to that rule has never proven to be unwarranted. So when I think of the "collective punishment" that we see on an almost daily basis in jewish-occupied Palestine...and considering the religious persuasion of Mrs. Reiner...I can't help but make the connection. Call me bigoted. Say that I had a bad experience that I projected on an entire culture. Tell me that my memory is fuzzy and merely an interpretation of the facts. But I'll stick to my guns about the way the ashkenazim raise their young. And since they understand and apparently enjoy the concept of collective punishment...then they won't mind when they ALL suffer inhuman punishment for the inhuman behaviour of their leaders.